This story was sent to us by Liora Cohen. Helping families like Liora's stay in touch is what keeps us all going at MyHeritage. But read for yourself:
We finally had our family meeting! It was a direct result of having a family site at MyHeritage. The idea of a meeting came after we started our site and saw that the family, however distantly related, is showing interest. We currently have 132 members on our family site at MyHeritage.com of whom about 100 have visited the site. We have 698 names on the tree, about 220 of them are alive.
This is the first time we've held such a reunion. The reunion was held in the Blue-Bay Hotel in Netanya, Israel Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2008. There were 65 participants - 44 Israelis and 21 from Australia, US, Austria and Hungary. Between themselves people spoke English, Hebrew, Hungarian, German and some Slovak. One person flew in from Ohio just to be there for one day!
Our family name is Frankl. Originating, (or as far back as we could find) from a little place called Mliecno, today a part of Samorin in Slovakia - Austrohungary by then. We called the reunion Frankl 28 due to the fact that my Great-Grandmother was one of 28 siblings (one mother, one father, no twins). Our tree is very well documented thanks to my parents who updated it for the past 30 years as well as other relatives before that.
There are not enough words to describe...
...the success of the event. We worked hard to achieve it, and that includes your part, Jaiel (note: Jaiel is head of support from the MyHeritage Team), in compiling the files for us. The banners were a hit! In total you helped us create 15 extensive descendant charts which covered the whole family, group by group. We took them to a professional printer and had them printed out in large size. They turned out beautifully. We hung them all around the hall and it really had a WOW effect...
People kept going back to them to look for relatives, find the relationships, etc.
Of course there were more things - we printed special T-shirts, cloth bags, name tags - all with the family's logo that was designed by my sister especially for this occasion. We prepared two presentations - one about the family and one about the genealogical research of the past years that resulted in our finding more ancestors and a small place in Slovakia where many of our ancestors are buried. The family decided to contribute an annual sum in order to be able to keep the cemetery clean and cared for.
We also found out that one of the participants, a girl from Budapest, is involved in such activity (taking care of old cemeteries) in Hungary as well as in Slovakia. She already volunteered to get in touch with the (Catholic!) guy who is doing it voluntarily until now.
We had a stories evening - people telling things about their connection to the family, old family stories, etc.
One session was called "data center" - people updating their or their relatives details and a presentation of "how to use our family site on MyHeritage" that was very important especially for the older generation. A research of mostly the past year, helped by a volunteer from Slovakia, resulted in our family tree growing backwards. There we also made it possible for people to order certain publications of family stories that were written some years ago by different family members, handed out special recipes and more and more.
And above all this was the interaction between the people. The younger generation, aged 20-35, who hardly knew of one another bonded like they grew up together. Sometimes the family connection goes back as far as 5 generations, and still the dynamics were unbelievable.
Now we are re-grouping. Trying to get back to real life. Also starting to plan the next meeting that will take place probably in Slovakia in 2010.
Be in touch, Liora